Q: How did you get involved in the outdoors?
A: So, when I was a freshman [at] Gordon College, [they had] a really phenomenal outdoor orientation program. They essentially did a 14-day outward-bound course for all incoming students. It was really cool opportunity…I did [a kayak trip] as an incoming first-year and just loved it. I went back and worked there every summer and then started getting more into the academic side of it… and from there, it really changed me and who I was and I wanted to offer that opportunity to others.
Q: Have you worked with other Outdoor Ed programs before CC?
A: I worked with a program at Gordon, called La Vida. [I also worked] with Adams State College Adventure programs in Alamosa, with Alaska Mountain Guides in Alaska, and a program called Adventure Treks in Washington. I worked for the University of New Hampshire’s recreation program; that’s where I got my Master’s…So I’ve worked for a bunch of different programs, which has been cool to see how programs operate differently
Q: How is working for those programs different from working at CC?
A: CC is really unique because a lot of programs struggle with support from the rest of the College…They can be a little more isolated, but [Outdoor Education] is a very integrated part of [the school]. Most people know about it and they want to use it, which is great. We’re well known and we have hundreds of students who want to lead for us [and] who are involved in our trips. It’s a big program, so we do a lot at CC.
Q: What are your day-to-day duties?
A: So I’m in charge of the climbing gym, I’m in charge of developing the whitewater program, [which is] one of the major reasons they brought me in. Then I also did my Master’s in Outdoor Orientation programs, so I’m also in charge of running the Priddy Experience for NSO and WSO. And then also, I oversee the OE-SIC and F.U.C.C. and a few other things I do, but those are the major things I’m involved in.
Q: So would you call yourself a whitewater kayaker?
A: I’m pretty into climbing as well, but whitewater kayaking is definitely the area of greatest expertise for me, and also the area where I’ve invested most of my time for the past few years, just because I really enjoy it. It’s an activity that makes me feel pretty alive and it’s very challenging. So because of that, I’ve really worked to involve those skills, and I think that’s one of the reasons I was very attractive to the program—they needed someone to come and work on [the whitewater] program.
Q: What’s your spirit animal?
A: My spirit animal would be a river otter. I used to think it was a flying squirrel, but I’m a water person first and foremost, and I don’t feel happy unless I’m in the water. It’s interesting to be in the desert, but the rivers here have incredible, world-class kayaking, which is pretty cool.